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‘You can’t coach effort’: Fever coach attacks team’s fight as Clark held to 10 points



Christie Sides: ‘You can’t play in this league if you have to coach effort. It’s just too hard.’Photograph: Doug McSchooler/AP

Indiana Fever coach Christie Sides criticized her team after they went down to a heavy loss to the Connecticut Sun on Monday night, with Caitlin Clark managing just 10 points.

“I’m going to start with how you can’t, at this level, coach effort,” Sides said after the game. “I felt like we were just trying to ask them to keep playing hard, play hard. You can’t start there. You can’t play in this league if you have to coach effort. It’s just too hard.”

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The game ended in a 89-72 victory for the Sun, although they had led by as many as 28 points at one stage and the Fever looked at their best when Sides took off most of her starters, including Clark, midway through the third quarter.

“We were down 28 and I wanted to put a group in there that would get out and play some defense,” Sides said of her decision to remove her starters. “I’m really, really proud of that group that went out there and cut the lead. They played hard.”

In mitigation, the Sun own the best record in the WNBA (10-1) and the Fever (3-10) have had a brutal schedule to start the season. The Fever’s next two games are against teams with modest records, the Chicago Sky (4-6) and the Atlanta Dream (5-4). Clark described those two home games as “very winnable … for our group”.

The Fever lost to the Sun by just four points in their previous meeting, but were poor at both ends of the floor on Monday.

“This is a team you can’t come out and be lackadaisical against; they’re just that good,” said Clark, whose 10 points all came in the first half. “They’re going to punch you in the mouth. And I don’t think we had it from the jump, and obviously, that’s a little disappointing.”

Aliyah Boston was the sole bright spot for the Fever. The former No 1 overall pick had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

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